Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Lois Kolkhorst vs. Big Brother in schools

Spring ISD north of Houston made national news last year by placing radio frequency identification devices, known as RFIDs, in their students' ID cards so they could track their movements throughout the schoolday. Most parents acquiesced in the school's decision, but privacy advocates cried foul.

This afternoon Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, attached floor amendment 95 to House Bill 2, which states that "a school district may not require a student to use an identification device that uses radio frequency identification technology to identify the student, transmit information regarding the student, or track information about the student."

Schools can adopt "voluntary" programs, and parents can opt out. It's unclear from the amendment language whether RFID use would be voluntary for schoolkids if their parents didn't object. The New York Times quoted a 15-year old Spring ISD freshman saying, "It's too Big Brother for me," so clearly some students don't like it.

Kudos to Rep. Kolkhorst, though, for sticking up for students' privacy.

For more on RFIDs, check out Wikipedia's RFID page.

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